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Ian McCalder

Ian McCalder

I love the Canadian Rockies!

Ian McCalder's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Climbing

Ian McCalder's Bio

I'm an avid climber. It's the activity that drives me to be outdoors. Camping and hiking are just ways to get to the crag for me.

Skiing is another weakness of mine and keeps me busy in the winter. I've also developed an addiction to ice climbing to round out my winter activities.

Ian McCalder

Ian McCalderwrote a review of on October 25, 2010

5 5

I picked up these gloves for ice climbing last year, and I must say they are fantastic. The palms are truly the stickest rubber I've ever seen, and they allow unparalleled dexterity without being constraining.

However, keep in mind they are not waterproof. Like, at all. If you plan on climbing in cold or wet conditions, pick something up with a shell material. Your hands will freeze the instant these gloves get wet. Generally speaking, they are better suited for mixed climbing due to this limitation, but I still break them out on warm days for late season ice climbing.

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Ian McCalder

Ian McCalderwrote a review of on April 4, 2010

5 5

I first ran in to the Laser Jacket a year and a half ago in a local gear shop. At the time I was totally smitten with the jacket, but couldn't justify the price tag (it's notoriously expensive). A year later I found myself still drooling over the Laser and decided to take the plunge. Three words: Best plunge ever.

I actually sold my Mountain Hardwear Dragon Jacket, just so I could fit this thing into my wardrobe. That was probably the easiest decision I've ever made. As has been said, the fabric is what makes this jacket stand out. It's windproof, sheds water like crazy, and is damn near waterproof. The jacket is actually made with a waterproof fabric (Schoeller WB-400), but the seams are not sealed. Thus the jacket gets an overall rating of "water-resistant".

The hood is big enough for any helmet known to man. The pockets will fit your PowerBar, ATC, gloves, or simply double as vents. I have had no sizing issues. I'm 5'11", 175 lbs and the medium fits like a dream.

If you're looking for a simple, windproof softshell with alpine pockets and a hood then this is your jacket. You simply don't need to look any further. In my opinion climbing softshells don't get better than the Mammut Laser. Not yet at least. This jacket is totally awesome approved.

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Ian McCalder

Ian McCalderwrote a review of on April 4, 2010

5 5

The Osprey Variant 37 is a fantastic pack. Hands down. If you're looking for a lightweight, comfortable, and feature-rich climbing pack, then read no further. Go buy it.

I have used the Variant for a multitude of tasks. From ice climbing and ski touring, to simple backpacking this thing never fails to impress. I found the capacity to be perfect for a day pack or a really light overnight excursion. Once you pack a sleeping bag in there the volume fills up pretty quick.

My single favorite feature has to be the crampon pouch. It works marvelously, and is easy to access once the pack is loaded up. Coming in a close second are the ice tool holders. If you're like me, and complete Petzl Nomic junkie, you'll note that most "loop" style tool holders will not work with the Nomics. That's because the current model doesn't have hammers on the heads (this will change in Fall '10), so the tools slip through the loops. The Variant uses a different system involving a buckle on some webbing and a tear-resistant pouch to store the tools. It's a huge improvement over the "standard" tool holders.

There are a myriad of straps on the Variant, but they all have an important role. Take some time to familiarize yourself with each one as the mess of straps can be overwhelming at first. If you're packing pretty light, use the compression straps to equalize your load across your back. Your shoulders will thank you later. Also note that Osprey does not recommend storing water bottles on the exterior of the pack. They suggest you use the "elasticized pockets" for holding gloves or avalanche probes only.As paulba said in his review, this pack is super glove friendly. All of the buckles are designed to work even with bulky belay gloves on. It's pure heaven when you're 100 metres off the ground and trying to dig out a snack to fuel the next pitch.

The pack is light to being with, it's an Osprey after all, but it can be put on a strict diet for the summit push if you need. By removing the lid and waist belt, one can slim down the pack in an effort to minimize weight. It's handy for sure.

Finally, and this is huge to me, the pack is just plain comfortable. I have yet to find an Osprey pack that doesn't agree with me, and this is no exception. Even after a two hour approach my back and shoulders are good to go. In my opinion this is what Osprey does best. They make highly functional packs that fit like a dream. If you pick this thing up, you won't be disappointed. The Variant 37 is awesome approved.

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Ian McCalder

Ian McCalderwrote a review of on January 28, 2010

4 5

I bought these boots on a whim, since I got a deal on them. My inital impressions were very good. They were warm, comfortable, and certainly stiff enough for the indended purpose of ice climbing. Some people have expressed concern over the durability of the suede upper, but I've had no problems. Granted, my boots haven't spent a lot of time on the rocks just yet.

As time went on I began to notice that I got some pretty serious heel lift in the boots. The first couple climbs of the day were painful when my calves would pump out from trying to compensate for the heel lift. This is, of course, concerning as having calf pump on pitch 3 of 6 is pretty darn miserable. I'm going to try and find a spacer that could fit under the tongue of the boot to push my foot deeper into the heel pocket, but barring that I may have to try a different boot.

However this is no fault of the boot. It's not Scarpa's fault my foot is shaped more like a La Sportiva last. Therefore I still give the boot 4 stars since it's warm, comfortable, and climbs very well. The sole is fairly asymmetrical, so be careful when buying crampons. Some will have trouble fitting on the front toe welt if they are not curved enough to match the boot.

I'm more than pleased with the performance of the boot, especially the waterproofing. If I can nail down the fit then I'm sure the Scarpa Summits will be part of my arsenal for years to come. If you've got a wide-ish foot I would highly reccommend them for all your mountain activities.

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Ian McCalder

Ian McCalderwrote a review of on November 19, 2009

5 5

I've had my Transcendent for a couple months now, and I must say it's great. True to down jacket form, it's very light weight considering the amount of warmth you get. The cut is generous enough to throw a couple layers underneath when one must battle the icy cold heart of Mother Nature herself. Pack size is, of course, impressive and the entire jacket packs into the front right hand warmer pocket. This makes the jacket easy to throw into a backpack, or a convenient size to use as a pillow.

I must say that my inital impression of this jacket was a little lackluster. The Transcendent simply wasn't as warm as I had expected it to be. I would stand around outside or sit in my car and still feel cold when the temperature was around the freezing mark. Then I started moving. This jacket is not meant to keep you warm when you're waiting for the bus in the dead of winter. Instead, it's an active outdoor mid-layer than excels at retaining body heat when the user is in motion. I would have to disagree with the review by Glapierre as I don't believe this would make a good belay jacket. It simply isn't thick enough to be warm when standing around. However, everyone is slightly different and it might work fine for you. As a rule, I'm cold all the time, so I would need a heavier jacket to keep me warm whilst on belay.

Like any down jacket you will get some feathers "bleeding" out every now and then, but fear not. Since OR has a fantastic warranty program if you blow a baffle, OR will fix or replace the jacket in a timely fashion. That being said, I find the face fabric is tougher than one might expect considering its relative thinness.

Overall this is a great insulating piece for active outdoor pursuits. The light weight and packability mean that it'll find its way into my backpack no matter what and, as Andy put it, it just looks damn good. This jacket is awesome approved.

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